Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Series - Candid Animals

Mountain Sheep - Mid-Chew
"Mountain Sheep - Mid-chew" - also affectionately known as "Derp Sheep". 
I'm sure I have a few photos of me with this same expression...

I've started a new series of pen & ink drawings, so far known as "Candid Animals". I'm trying to capture the moments in between the majesty- funny expressions, less-than-ideal poses- the wildlife equivalent of sneezing for your driver's license photo.

To keep things interesting (and to save me from myself) I have a few simple rules I need to follow:

  1. These drawings must be based on photos I have taken- no Googling for better images!
  2. Only the simplest pencil sketch is allowed: just the proportions & placement- no getting bogged down in details at this early stage.
  3. No quitting! If (and when) I mess something up, I have to keep going. 
  4. No starting a new picture until the current one is finished.

Pacific Chorus Frog
"Pacific Chorus Frog" - the least 'derpy' subject so far.

The rules are working well so far- it turns out that I've actually felt more driven & inspired while working within these constraints. So much for having a rebellious artistic nature! ;)

Dream Big
"Dream Big" - this guy may have bitten off more than he can chew. 
I think we all have days like that.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Fantastic Simon Fox

This was a surprise birthday present poster for my good buddy Simon Fox, commemorating a truly fantastic performance as part of the 13th annual West Coast Guitar Night.
This was drawn in the style of my dad, who created posters for local bands and venues all over Vancouver, the Lower Mainland, and Vancouver Island in the l960s and 1970s. I had a lot of fun with it, and it was a great way to honour & acknowledge how much dad's art has inspired me.

Here's a few pics to show the development of the poster. It appears I forgot to take any photos or scans at the preliminary design stages- oh well. Just picture a lot of sketching & erasing. ;)

Stage 1 of inking. The letters need something extra to make them pop.

In retrospect, it would have been a lot easier if I'd used a ruler for all of that crosshatching... I do like the rustic, hand-drawn look, though. But the rest of the text is still missing something...

That's better! Much more eye-catching. Now to add a simple border and the rest of the details.

So many ripples- they are really fun to draw! I saved the sketch of Simon for last, as it was the part I was most worried about messing up. Fortunately, it turned out alright and he asked for a painted version to use as a new logo. Happy to oblige!

Check out Simon's music here:

Sunday, January 13, 2013


It's been a long time since I've posted anything here, hasn't it?

I'm a bit particular when it comes to posting things in chronological order. It's easy to fall behind when you hit a roadblock- be it a challenging project that you can't quite finish, a piece that you aren't sure how to write about, or simply a secret gift that's just waiting for a birthday to arrive before it can be revealed. Sometimes you can fall weeks behind, and not even notice. Sometimes you can fall months behind. And sometimes over a year can pass without a word.

"Tournée du Chat Ombre" - detail

This is from a painting that I started in November of 2011. An homage to Steinlen's famous "Chat Noir" poster, it was to be a Christmas gift for my dad, as his beloved cat Shadow had passed away earlier that year. I was pretty happy with how it was turning out, and couldn't wait for him to see the finished painting.

I never got the chance.

In early December, I got the phone call. My brother told me our dad had died.

"Tournée du Chat Ombre" - detail

I packed the painting away, and I got swept up in grief and life and work and distractions, and yes- even art sometimes. Even with everything else that was broken, the urge to be creative remained- my dad and I always had that in common.

But I couldn't post anything here, because I'd have to talk about What Happened. And I wasn't ready. Don't think I ever will be, really, but that's okay.

I missed this silly little blog and my small but wonderful crew of followers. I missed creating and sharing new art. That I am ready for.

I haven't been able to finish the painting yet. But I will. In my studio, surrounded by his artwork and his art supplies, I will finish it. And I will use this year to make beautiful things.

"Tournée du Chat Ombre" - unfinished
For Ron Sayer ~ 1948-2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekend W.I.P. - Robots!

I've been working on a couple of robot designs to keep this guy company. 


Hopefully I'll have this first one finished in time for Christmas! I'm working on the colours now (so.. much.. cell-shading.. O_o)

'Robots Need Love Too'

This one is still a rough sketch, but he's been scanned and is waiting for his turn to be inked. Hang in there, little guy!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Weekend WIP - West Coast Corvid

West Coast Corvid
"West Coast Corvid"
Acrylic on wood panel, 2011

It's the return of the Weekend Work-In-Progress!

This weekend I'll be showing you how 'West Coast Corvid' came together. There's not much to describe (since the steps are basically 1- sketch. 2- paint. 3- paint some more. 4- keep painting...), so I'll just let the pictures tell the story (such as it is).

Primed wood panel with gesso. Sketched the scene

Painted the sky. Played with some texture for the clouds.

Toned down the cloud texture. Painted the hills.
Played around with the paint on the closest hill to give it a bit of 'forest' texture.

Added some more detail to the hills. Painted the bird. 

And that's it! Everything went as smoothly as described, yes indeed... ;)

Here's a question for all you artists out there- what is your painting process like? Since I first learned to paint with watercolours, I tend to keep a lot of the same habits when I use acrylics (working from light to dark colours, for example). Do you have a system that you like to stick to, or do you tend towards slightly-controlled-chaos?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Find me on Facebook

Oh hello faithful readers!

Things are starting to pick up in the studio- lots of holiday gifts to work on...
I have a helper, though:

‎"What's this? A new surface for me to sleep on?"

I also wanted to let you know that I have finally set up a Facebook page for me & my art, if you like to like that sort of thing:
RavenHart Studio

More art & photos coming soon! :)